Armenia’s state broadcaster AMPT has announced that it is withdrawing from Eurovision 2012. The European Broadcasting Union made the announcement this morning via their web site eurovision.tv.

“We are truly disappointed by the broadcaster’s decision to withdraw from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest,”said the Contest Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand. “Despite the efforts of the EBU and the Host Broadcaster to ensure a smooth participation for the Armenian delegation in this year’s Contest, circumstances beyond our control lead to this unfortunate decision.”

Love it or lump it, politics will always be contested at the Eurovision Song Contest. Despite the promise that juries will help eradicate the bloc voting that has marred previous contests, no jury anticipated what’s happened with Armenia this year.

Rumours initially circulated that Armenia, one of ESC’s strongest participating countries may boycott Baku because of safety concerns. This is due to on-going war over the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region that has resulted in the catastrophic loss of lives on both sides since 1918. The government of Azerbaijan responded by guaranteeing the safety of the Armenian delegation, and on January 17 Armenia confirmed its participation. But in late February 2012, Armenian singers issued a statement saying the country should boycott the competition following the Feb. 23 death of an Armenian soldier in Azeri sniper attack. But when PanArmenian.Net released Armenia’s 2012 Eurovision song and entry on its web site yesterday, everything looked like it was on track for Baku. Lucia Moon would sing a song called”Delicious Feeling/ Call It Insane”—and the team at WiwiBloggs.Com rejoiced.

Looks like we got ahead of ourselves. Now that Armenia is officially out, it’s with a heavy heart we look back at Armenia’s participation in the ESC and assess their impact on the contest over the years. Alright WiwiPeeps, let’s settle down for a much needed history lesson…

Armenia debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 with the song “Without Your Love” performed by André. Although this song was merely a simple pop number, it managed to generate a lot of controversy because Andre was introduced by the commentators and EBU media as the singer from Nagorno-Kazabakh, Armenia.

Hello??? This provoked outrage especially from the Azeris who regard that territory as being part of Azerbaijan. Still, the contest went along smoothly and Armenia finished in 8th place marking a successful debut.

In Helsinki 2007, “Anytime You Need” was the Armenian entry. The song was performed in English and Armenian by Hayko. This was the first occasion on which the Armenian language was used in a Contest entry… (But let’s face it: that was only their second appearance). It was a highly forgettable, dreary ballad, and most pop fans had forgotten the song the minute it ended. Still, it managed to maintain the eighth position of the previous year. A huge surprise for ESC 2007 considering that most of the entries were of particularly high standard.

Come 2008, Armenia presented a crowd favourite to ESC held in Serbia. “Qele Qele”, performed by Sirusho, managed to gain the most ‘douze points’ that year, and was the bookies favourite to win. It charted in many countries including Greece, Cyprus, and Russia and finished in fourth position.

In 2009 Armenia contributed folk music to the contest. Inga and Anush Arshakyan performed “Jan Jan.” It was a bizarre spectacle of Gemini mirrored images accompanied with great vocals. The song managed to remain in the Top 10, and it did kick off a highly successful career for the sisters in their homeland. Backstage though, there was added controversy. During the first semi-final, the introductory “postcard” leading into the Armenian performance depicted, amongst other monuments, We Are Our Mountains, a statue located in Stepanakert, capital city of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic which is a dejure part of Azerbaijan. After an official complaint by Azerbaijan, the video clip was edited out for the broadcast of the final. However, in retaliation the presenter of the Armenian votes, Sirusho (ESC 2008) held up a clipboard with the monument’s picture on it as she read off the votes, and in the background a screen in Yerevan’s main square could be seen to display the monument. This tug of war continue to play out heavily in respective media of both countries for nearly a year!

Eva Rivas: Miss Apricot 2010

In 2010, Armenia tipped the scale further. The controversial entry “Apricot Stone” sung by Eva Rivas was submitted to the ESC. The apricot, known in Armenia since ancient times, has long been held as an emblem of the country which has been called “The motherland of the apricot” Furthermore, the lyrics of Apricot Stone have a hidden political message about the Armenian Genocide. During the press conferences in Oslo, this was hinted by the Armenian delegation causing a stir amongst the Azeris and making it very uncomfortable for many ‘uncomplicated’ media darlings. The theme of apricot continued throughout the three minute production, and analysing this in detail may require a thesis of its own. The song featured the duduk, an instrument carved out of apricot wood played by famous Armenian “dudukahar” Djivan Gasparyan, the oldest person ever to feature in a Eurovision Song Contest performance.

Good news came in the form of the Junior Eurovision Contest, which was won by Vladimir Arzumanyan of Armenia with the song “Mama”, later that year. This gave Armenia first victory in any Eurovision contest, ahead of Azerbaijan.

In 2011, things took a nosedive. The winning Armenian entry “Boom Boom” was picked out of four songs, all of which were performed by Emma Bejanyan. an internal selection.. The whole package was a disaster (remember those silly boxing gloves on stage?), and Armenia failed to qualify for the final show for the very first time in its short history.

Although what we remember of Armienia’s last performance at The ESC leaves a lot to be desired, it’s clear that she remains one of the stronger contenders in the contest. In an ideal world, conflict should remain in the battlefields and not mar the contest. Many true ESC fans are still hoping to see Armenia’s entry do well in Baku as unfortunately till date, the country’s biggest entertainment export remain the Americanised hogwash that is, The Kardashians. Perhaps ESC can produce a replacement for the perma-tanned sisters next year.

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nikki
Guest

ermeni faisheselriiiiiiiiiiiiiii
hemise bele olub

Lusi
Guest
Lusi

EVRAVISON 2011 ARMENI EMMY BOOM BOOM THE BEST

Tricia
Guest
Tricia

It’s now been 2 months since Ilham Aliyev made that speech. For all you people who told me that Aliyev saying “Our main enemies are Armenians of the world” was either a lie or a mistranslation, the “mistranslation” is still active at the President’s website. Which indicates more than ever that he said these things. Wake up, sheep!!

Sam
Guest

Azerbaijan must start the war as soon as possible !!!
Vladimir Putin and Serge Sarkissian are deep gay in hot action !
Armenians are lying,they have no chance to win this war.
A half of Azerbaijan leaders make a big mistake to sleep on negotiations.
Nobody’s will take care of that war.
At the same time they must permit Israeli militaries who are in Baku to give a lesson to Iranian government: for immédiat liberation and reunification of Eastern Azerbaijan.
Yashasin Azerbaijan !!!
….

Sam
Guest

Azerbaijan must start the war as soon as possible !!!
Vladimir Putin and Serge Sarkissian are deep gay in hot action !
Armenians are lying,they have no chance to win this war.
A half of Azerbaijan leaders make a big mistake to sleep on negotiations.
Nobody’s will take care of that war.
At the same time they must permit Israeli militaries who are in Baku to give a lesson to Iranian government: for immédiat liberation and reunification of Eastern Azerbaijan.
Yashasin Azerbaijan !!!

Sam
Guest

Azerbaijan must start the war as soon as possible !!!
Vladimir Putin and Serge Sarkissian are deep gay in hot action !
Armenians are lying,they have no chance to win this war.
A half of Azerbaijan leaders make a big mistake to sleep on negotiations.
Nobody’s will take care of that war.
At the same time they must permit Israeli militaries who are in Baku to give a lesson to Iranian government: for immédiat liberation and reunification of Eastern Azerbaijan.
Yashasin Azerbaijan !!!
..

Sam
Guest

Azerbaijan must start the war as soon as possible !!!
Vladimir Putin and Serge Sarkissian are deep gay in hot action !
Armenians are lying,they have no chance to win this war.
A half of Azerbaijan leaders make a big mistake to sleep on negotiations.
Nobody’s will take care of that war.
At the same time they must permit Israeli militaries who are in Baku to give a lesson to Iranian government: for immédiat liberation and reunification of Eastern Azerbaijan.
Yashasin Azerbaijan !!!
.

Sam
Guest

Azerbaijan must start the war as soon as possible !!!
Vladimir Putin and Serge Sarkissian are deep gay in hot action !
Armenians are lying,they have no chance to win this war.
A half of Azerbaijan leaders make a big mistake to sleep on negotiations.
Nobody’s will take care of that war.
At the same time they must permit Israeli militaries who are in Baku to give a lesson to Iranian government: for immédiat liberation and reunification of Eastern Azerbaijan.
Yashasin Azerbaijan !!!

Tricia
Guest
Tricia

@ Vicky, I’m not an Armenian lawyer. I’m not even of Armenian descent. What President Aliyev said was foul, and for the Azeris to pretend he didn’t say it and act offended that Armenia would be offended by this statement is ridiculous. The line is AT HIS WEBSITE along with the rest of the speech. Not one media source have I found in any international platform has stated that his line was a mistranslation. They have said definitely that he said it, and I haven’t found ANY sources that Aliyev has attempted to correct this supposed error. If you can… Read more »

Ferid
Guest
Ferid

@ Trica, I apologise on behalf of my fellow Azeris. They owe you a big apology.
@ Deban, I am so sorry that your impartial article which focuses on nothing but music and the need for continued unity through Music has been hijacked by some backward Azeris who continue to defend a bloodthirsty president.As much as I love my homeland, I wonder why anyone would want to celebrate ESC 2012. There are far too many qarabaqs for a country of such a small size!Armenia has withdrawn. Poland has refused to take part. We should ALL be mourning.

Vicky
Guest
Vicky

@ Tricia You don’t fit for a role of Armenian lawyer. If you want to blacken Azerbaijan you should find more convincing arguments than translator’s mistake on the president’s website! !

Tricia
Guest
Tricia

@Natalie…..Wow. I never took the accusations of “media white-washing” in Azerbaijan seriously until this exact moment. If this is such a false translation, then WHY hasn’t there been an updated translation of his speech? It’s been almost a month since the President’s speech, and this “faulty translation” is still active at his website. This one line has caused international stir. Why haven’t they corrected this on the national scale if it’s really a lie? Azerbaijan is going to host a music contest in 2 months where over 40 countries are sending representatives, and yet there’s no correction? I haven’t read… Read more »

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

@Tricia, I should not apologize, because I’m right. It’s the fault of translators. They didn’t translate the President’s speech correctly, because the President said “dünya ermeniliyi” in Azeri and its “Mirovoye armyanstvo” in Russian language. But the translators translated the text word-for-word. It doesn’t mean “THE ARMENIANS OF THE WORLD”. It means different lobbies, Diasporas or organizations throughout the world, which support the Armenians.

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

@Tricia, I should not apologize, because I’m right. It’s the fault of translators. They didn’t translate the President’s speech correctly, because the President said “dünya erm?niliyi” in Azeri and its “??????? ?????????” in Russian language. But the translators translated the text word-for-word. It doesn’t mean “THE ARMENIANS OF THE WORLD”. It means different lobbies, Diasporas or organizations throughout the world, which support the Armenians.

William Lee Adams
Admin

@Tricia is right. Mainstream media including TIME and the BBC have covered this: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/03/11/how-armenia-and-azerbaijan-wage-war-through-eurovision/

Tricia
Guest
Tricia

@ Vicky and Natalie: I’m not lying. I got this quote DIRECTLY from Ilham Aliyev’s website. Here’s the link: http://en.president.az/articles/4423. The speech is long, so here’s the full paragraph where this quote comes from: “Our political influence and economic power are growing. This is seen by those who like us and those who don’t. There are quite a lot of those who rejoice in our successes. But there are forces that don’t like us, our detractors. They can be divided into several groups. FIRST, OUR MAIN ENEMIES ARE ARMENIANS OF THE WORLD AND THE HYPOCRITICAL AND CORRUPT POLITICIANS UNDER THEIR… Read more »

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

@Tricia Firstly, Armenia decided not to participate even before the President’s speech and secondly, there is a full version of the President’s speech on the internet and there are no “Armenians” or “Armenian nation” words there. The president said “Armenian lobby” and it is the different thing. Haven’t you taught that lying is not good thing?

Vicky
Guest
Vicky

@ Tricia Did you hear that Ilham Aliyev’s statement? Did you personally hear those words? Or maybe you refer to Armenian media? If you refer to Armenian media I’ll reccomend you to be more serious)))

CzechVision
Guest
CzechVision

Very interesting article sir, ive never been watching Eurovision much. Just few times, but not really the whole show, so didnt even know there are things like this going on……and to be honest i shouldnt be even talkin about this because from the two contestants from our country brought there…i was so ashamed..the worse choices EVER.. But back to this article…its sad to see things like this going on…im not taking any side..but death threat is so weakminded and to be laughed at…Especially just for writing OBJECTIVE article. But true this is competition and should be equal without any bullshit…Look… Read more »

steve
Guest
steve

very well written and great perspective. Really enjoyed reading it.

steve
Guest
steve

what an interesting and well written commentary. I totally enjoyed it.

trackback

[…] Armenia 21/2 [Bookies still include Armenia in the odds table despite its recent withdrawal. This could be an error, or it could reflect their belief Armenia will return to the contest.] 12. […]

Tricia
Guest
Tricia

“Our main enemies are Armenians of the world and the hypocritical and corrupt politicians under their control.”
– Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan (02/28/2012)

I think this quote sums up why Armenia withdrew from the contest.

Gavin Brockwell
Guest

Shame… I love the song! It’s all about the song for me… I hope that’s not disrespectfull to the situation?

“who cares about politics…it’s all about love!”

JobQuest
Guest
JobQuest

So well written, like all your previous articles – it’s a pleasure to read your points by someone who has such a good knowledge of this institution. Although it’s still as camp as ever – I don’t remember it being as political as it is now. In my opinion it does distract from what should be an annual evening of harmony (forgive the pun). Whatever happened to the contest that gave us Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson in 1959 finishing second with “Sing, Little Birdie”..?

francisco
Guest
francisco

Wow! That was a very comprehensive summary of the whole “Armenian Affair”. I don’t think it could be clearer or better written. This what I have been telling for many years now, the Eurovision contest is just another arena for the play and display of political agendas. Art in itself and by itself ought to be a-political, the fact that it is not is a very sorry state indeed.

William Lee Adams
Admin

@richmonde — it’d be a good look! e-mail me and i’ll sit passenger side 🙂

Richmonde
Guest
Richmonde

I want to wear a leather jacket and too much raspberry lipstick and drive a shiny car!!!!

QARABAQ AZERBAYCAN
Guest

Natalie men insan yox qatil oldurmek isteyirem eger kimse burda zorro balayana insan deyirse onun insanliqindan supem var dunya bilsinki azerbaycan xocalinin intiqamini alacaq lap qiyamete 2 gun qalsa bele insallh biz onlardan hesabimizi goreceyik hec kesin buna supesi olmasin it balalari zibil ermeniler

Kai
Guest
Kai

“In an ideal world, conflict should remain in the battlefields and not mar the contest.” I’m not sure if i share this vision of an ideal world. Putting this aside, Caucasia is the border between Europe and Asia and the one hour flight from Azerbaijan to Armenia is nothing less that jumping from Iran to Italy. This has a very specific beauty just with the dark side that political consciousness in both countries still seems to be stuck in the thirtieth of the last century. Who did expect music to pacify the region or even just ignoring the situation, would… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Putting politics aside – that was and is one of the aims of ESC, this is a good easy on the ears and eyes song.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

This is unfortunate. I thought the Eurovision contest this year would be an opportunity for the tensions to be eased, even a little bit.

stephen
Guest
stephen

Oh Nooooooooooo, We all going to miss the apricot song year….

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

The territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan,which is under occupation of Armenia. Armenia was provided with all security guarantees and everything else, but they didn’t use them. But it’s not difficult to understand Armenia, because how can country aggressor participate in such international contest?

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

@QARABAQ AZERBAYCAN, Killing someone just because he is Armenian or Azerbaijani is the sign of weakness and limitedness of intellect. If you think you are weak and with limited intellect, then go and kill. But remember that you also will be killed then and nobody will stand up for you, because nobody wants to stand up for murderer…

Nirgal
Guest

Forgot to say: My biggest source of disappointment is that I expected this year’s contest to be an oportunity to ease the tension between both countries if everything ran smoothly. Now it seems it will do exactly the opposite.

Nirgal
Guest

I can’t say I’m surprised (I mean, we’re ten days from the deadline and we didn’t even know the selection procedure), but I’ve gotta say I’m disappointed. I expected Armenia to select either a really low-profile artist (a foreign, neither Armenian nor Azeri one would’ve been a great choice for that) with a low profile song in order to dodge controversy. That, or heavy weaponry (sorry for the military analogy, couldn’t think of anything better) in hopes of winning in Azeri land just to invert the roles next year. If they were going to let politics drive’em away, they should… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

as an outer Caucasian watching person from a democratic country like Germany with a difficult history I have to say: Do not turn into wanting to kill someone just because he is from Armenia? Or the other way round from Azerbaijan? I know we Germans had times when we were all alone in this world and now we even have peace with France and Israel. So what else can I say? Dont be too childish, Qarabaq!

Jessica in London
Guest
Jessica in London

Qarabaq: I have traveled to Azerbaijan many times and think it is a beautiful country with beautiful, friendly people. However, comments like yours scare foreigners and make them want to avoid Azerbaijan and Baku. It’s never a good idea to threaten to kill people. It makes you look bad, and reflects poorly on kind-hearted Azeris. The article above is not controversial: it merely reports on the existing tensions between your country and Armenia. This is a fact. It is not taking sides. Please don’t tarnish the Azeri name by making hateful statements to people.

QARABAQ AZERBAYCAN
Guest

you are never came azerbaijan because you are not human
if you came baku, we’ll to kill you as you khocali genocide
never forget, you will must answer khocali genocide and we will to burn zorro balayan never forget it
and you are very coward mans , remember ELMAR QASIMOV he has been won in yeravan world champion judo.

We will destroy you from world, your grave will be Azerbaijan land karabakh

Mina
Guest
Mina

Armenia was provided with all security guarantees at the state level. But they didn’t need guarantees; their only wish was to make a scandal and to soil Azerbaijan’s reputation.

Nata
Guest
Nata

Azerbaijani Government guaranteed safety of the Armenian delegation even two months ago. If you don’t know it, then it is your own business.